Japan's NISC to shut down cold-rolling, pickling operations

Nippon Steel & Sumikin Coated Sheet Corp (NISC) will close its cold-rolling and pickling facilities as part of a restructuring programme aimed at stopping a slide in profitability.

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“Although we have posted profits for the past three years, our margins have also decreased and we need to reverse this trend," the company said.

The shutdowns would affect facilities at NISC's Amagasaki plant in western Japan, and the Funabashi plant in Tokyo.

The wholly owned subsidiary of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp (NSSMC) said the Amagasaki plant would take cold rolled coil from its parent group's Hirohata works instead.

Similarly, NISC's Funabashi plant in Tokyo will take CRC from NSSMC's Kimitsu works.

Production levels at the two plants are currently at about 50,000 tpm.

NISC said that it would focus investment on its overseas business. To date these include a joint venture with BlueScope Steel to supply coated sheet to the Southeast Asian markets, and a 60,000 tpy Vietnamese coated sheet production centre.

It will also upgrade its colour sheet lines at home to expand its range of products.

NISC estimates the restructuring will save it ¥1.5 billion ($15 million) annually.

In the fiscal year ended March 31, the company saw its sales revenues decline by 2.9% to ¥80.1 billion ($804 million) and its pre-tax profit slide to ¥601 million ($6 million), from ¥1.56 billion ($15.6 million) in the previous year.

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